Saturday’s Scattered Thoughts

Another week coming to a conclusion. Thanks to all of you who commented on the series on omnipotence; it proved to be one of the most succesful series attempted on this blog (though well behind the Sandusky/PSU commentary). And a tip of the hat to Lisa Delay ( for suggesting it. Proof that requests are indeed accepted!

Last week I began a Saturday series commenting on things in general, some of which may be picked up as themes for future posts, but most of which are just put out there for your own thinking. If they strike a chord, please comment and perhaps we’ll generate a weekend discussion in the process.

The first item is one I seriously considered as a topic to take on. It has to do with the widely and wildly perpetrated youtube video taking on “religion” as opposed to Jesus. You’ve probably seen it, or at least have seen it posted on someone’s facebook status. Rather than commenting directly, however, here is a link to Kevin DeYoung’s blog: DeYoung echoes and develops thoughts very similar to my own, centering on the fact that the thesis is seriously flawed due to its very slippery and shifting definition of what “religion” is and is not, which has the consequence of not taking the whole of Jesus’ words about it into consideration. I’m sure some readers will immediately dismiss my objections as those of an aging traditionalist. So read them from someone else.

On a sad note, please offer prayer on behalf of Ben Witherington and his wife, whose 32 yr.-old daughter died yesterday. Ben is a New Testament scholar at Asbury Theological Seminary. As I can readily attest, ministry professionals (a bad term, I confess) are very much like everyone else; these things hurt deeply.

And the winner is . . . Dr. Mary Midgley. I had awaited with decidedly unbated breath the latest issue of Philosophy Now to find out who the winner might be of the first Philosophy Now Award for Contributions in the Fight Against Stupidity. Midgley, a philosopher (surprised?) was selected out of twenty-five nominees for her “many contributions to clear thinking.” I am pleased to report that I found the one article of hers that I have read to be consistent with that description.

In a rare 9-0 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court seems to have gotten it right. In citing freedom of religion as the first and most basic of the civil rights, religious organizations are not bound to ignore a person’s beliefs when hiring individuals. It does not make sense to force, for example, for a Catholic charity to hire an open advocate of abortion, even if the person is otherwise qualified–or an avowed atheist at an evangelical relief organization.

One has to wonder how much defying and stretching of the truth will be tolerated in our perpetual political campaigns. The Romney-Bain Capital issue is just the latest example. Whether the truth can be known at all with all of the charges and counter-charges, the one thing that can be discerned without fail is that our poisoned way of seeking office is becoming even more toxic. It raises anew the questions about the extent of Christian participation in the campaigns; can it be done with integrity? Without reference to any actual positions, I do applaud the considerable attempts of Rick Santorum to steer as clear as possible of the tactics of used be some of his opponents. (But I do disagree with some of his positions, but that’s another matter). And what should Ron Paul do with the endorsement of the legalized prostitution “industry” in Nevada?

My thoughts are not as scattered this week as last; maybe that’s due to focusing on syllabus completion for an upcoming semester, during which that ever asked question of God’s relationship to suffering will be the subject of an elective. The question never goes away, but neither does the answer: Jesus, the Christ. It will take more than a semester to fill out that answer.

Blessings to all.